Can't control volume

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by lindsey91, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. lindsey91 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2010
    For the past few weeks, I've been having a weird issue:

    Often, I'll be using my laptop, and out of nowhere I lose control over my volume. It will be stuck at whatever volume I had it before this occurred. Clicking the volume buttons (F10, F11, F12) makes the little changing volume noise (sounds like a drop of water?), but the volume doesn't actually change. Same thing if I try to change the volume in Sound in System Preferences. It says my volume is increasing, only it's not.

    My only control over volume is then in applications - for example, if I'm watching a movie in VLC, I can increase the volume within the media player, or if I'm listening to a song in iTunes, I can change the volume within iTunes. However, if I had my volume set low before it decided to stop working, even bringing an application's volume to the maximum isn't very much help.

    It almost always is fixed when I restart my computer. Generally the volume will function fine for two or three minutes after restarting my computer, and then it will suddenly stop letting me control it. It's getting pretty annoying to restart my computer all the time.

    Any ideas? :(

    Edit: I have a MacBook from early 2009ish.
  2. firemedicmark macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2005
    2009 so prob no apple care. As the person above said, try a restore..that will more than likely fix your issue
  3. lindsey91 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2010
    Hi guys,

    Well, it's been a year and I'm still having this issue, so figured I'd bump this thread and see if there are any new opinions.

    I couldn't system restore because I don't have Time Machine set up. From what I remember (back in 2009), it was confusing to set up because I only have 2GB memory and it looked like it was gonna use a lot of that up. Regardless, I don't have it.

    I looked up my serial number, and apparently I have a late 2008 13-inch aluminum Macbook model. It's running 10.5.8. Works great aside from this one dumb issue. At seemingly random times, the sound will just stop working. Either it will get stuck really loud, or, more often, get stuck on mute. I'll click the volume buttons and the volume appears to change, but the computer doesn't actually make any sound. 100% of the time a restart fixes the issue. But like I said before, restarting gets pretty old pretty fast. I'm not about to pay the Apple guys to fix it, but if anyone is floating around these forums who has any ideas, I'd be grateful. Not a big deal, but I'd love to be able to have reliable sound again. :)



    Changes since the original post:

    It usually gets stuck on mute now, whereas before it seemed to be getting stuck at whatever volume I was at.

    It happens less often. When I originally posted this, it was happening literally every time I used the computer. Now it still happens a lot, but I'd say most of the time is when I've let the computer go idle for a little bit. Although it definitely does still just happen randomly in the middle of when I'm using it sometimes.
  4. lindsey91 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2010

    It only took a year and a half, but I've solved the issue!

    Turns out I had some Nielsen Digital Voice stuff installed on my computer from years ago. I vaguely remember installing this to win internet points towards gift cards or something years ago. Bad idea. Within the past few months, I've been having a bunch of issues with Firefox related to these Nielsen add-ons and plug-ins that were seemingly impossible to get rid of even after I deleted all the Nielsen files I could find (the files would just reappear when I restarted my computer). In the process of trying to deal with that, I realized that in my sound settings, my output was set to "Nielsen Audio."

    I ended up going to the Nielsen Digital Voice website, logging in (username was my email and it let me reset my password) and I reinstalled the software. After reinstalling it, I now had a Nielsen folder in my applications and inside was an "Uninstall" program. I clicked that and everything was uninstalled.

    And now my sound works flawlessly!!!!

    If anyone ever stumbles upon this after having a similar issue, I would recommend going to your system preferences, clicking 'sound,' clicking 'output' on the top, and seeing if it's set to something you wouldn't expect. Then you may have to look into how to uninstall any plug-ins you might have.
  5. WildCard^ macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2013
    so you tolerated it that long without having it looked at? When all else fails, I would have reinstalled the OS. How could you tolerate that?
  6. lindsey91 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2010
    Haha yeah.

    Reinstalling the operating system sounds like a hassle. Can you even do that without purchasing a disc or something? And then I'd have to reinstall everything on my computer. And I wasn't about to pay the Apple people to look at something so trivial. I'm not on AppleCare.

    I guess you kind of just get used to not doing things that require sound as often on your computer. Or restart it - could usually get it to work fine after a restart.
  7. WildCard^ macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2013
    Yeah, the install disks come with the machine when new, and you can get 10.6 Snow Leopard from Apple for $20. I once got the $20 disk and Apple Store genius reinstalled and updated it for me in the store. I had just gone in to ask for advice, and they took the machine and did the work. Service like that is why I am a convert from the land of Microsoft. oh yeah, it was on a 2008 macbook long out of warranty. Love those guys!

    from my PC days I've learned that sometimes reinstalling the OS is the easiest way to go.

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